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Two and a half years of “The Quinton” later and it is starting to get a bit redundant is it not? What at one point seemed like (hopefully) interesting new ways to look at the strategy of the games we play has seemingly become a weekly chastisement, a forced (and humiliating) introspection of our own, most basic shortcomings, a punishment only earned for (i) being a person and (ii) having the flaws that come with that. Sure we trudge on, but moving the needle forward now seems to take three times the effort as before.

It is not quite as bleak as I describe above and it is never is (as decision making-deity Danny Kahneman has told us so through our old friend the focusing effect). The fact of the matter, though, is that it seems that we have come to the journey’s end. We set off on this journey of improving process and all that comes with it (decision making, strategy, information procurement, etc.), knowing that this is where the largest gains were ripe for the picking. Whereas the low hanging fruit had already been picked in analysis and information asymmetry (thanks smart people and internet (which I guess is to say, “Thanks smart people and the smart people that gave us the internet”)), the fruits of applying human behavior and strategy to fantasy baseball, once hanging low all around us, now seemed to be picked as bare as international slot bonuses of a past era. Just as analytics was something in all front offices several years ago, searching for competitive advantages on the process side is no longer cutting edge or known to be used by a few clubs (or fantasy baseball participants). Whereas Kahneman’s Thinking, Fast and Slow was being passed around the Astros front office in the 2014 (!) offseason, prospect theory, anchoring, framing, and loss aversion are now, just four years later, a part of all of our dialogue when analyzing not only decisions teams and we make, but also when analyzing the analysis.

The question then becomes, with all the brightest minds being brought in-house, with teams out pacing the public space, even academia at points, in decision making theory, is the trudging onward worth it? Is process (as the most effective means of improvement) dead? Well, as we know from framing, when we look at the question from this perspective (the perspective of a grumpy, once-young, internet writer), of course the answer seems to be no. (The better question is thus probably whether this writer (with this attitude) should continue on with the writing, but let us not entertain that for now).

When we reframe the question and ask, “Should we stop improving our process?” The answer (hint: no) becomes obvious. More than anything, our latest points of emphasis—competitive response and game theory—reminds us that process can never be stagnant if it strives to always be optimal because in baseball and fantasy baseball, our options, decisions, and strategies will forever be influenced by that of our competition. Whereas we have spent the majority of the past three years honing our own process, removing our own biases, and understanding our valuation methods, it appears that this cannot be complete without doing the same in understanding our competition. Moreover, if our competition is, like us, working to understand their competition (us), our competition and we will forever be dancing in this Game Theory Waltz.

Do what? Yup, we are back to the Red Queen Hypothesis again. As the Red Queen says to Alice in Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass, “here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place.” In other words, just as we would have sold analysis short of DRA if we stopped at catcher framing, we will sell ourselves short in process if we stop at Kahneman, Thaler, Areily, Gigerenzer, Duckworth, and others on the behavior and decision making side.

Ultimately, while it may seem like we are mindlessly plugging away at times, it is important to know that it is when we stop thinking, when we stop looking at our decisions from different angles, that we stop gaining the small advantages over our competition, that we become the ones with odds against us. Let us therefore keep discussing and keep searching, hopefully continually making the best bet available not only now, but for as many decisions to come as desired.

Thank you for reading

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tylersnotes
7/08
i'm glad this is here
craneplace
7/09
Thanks!
jnossal
7/08
Yes. Yes.
sykojohnny
7/08
You have helped me understand my process immensely. Keep it up.
craneplace
7/09
That's awesome to hear. That's why I do this. Well that and to improve my own process.

I'm gunna try. Fingers crossed.
albryna
7/08
really poor excuse for the shit yall are pulling, im cancelling my subscription or removing the debit card attached to my account, make fun of me all you want but im 24 years old and this is the behavior of children. you turned BaseballProspectus into TFM for baseball, congrats.
BenC22
7/09
Idk I found the Red Queen Hypothesis piece on TFM to be a little esoteric.
LlarryA
7/09
Over 15 cents. (one day's cost of BP) Oy.
lipitorkid
7/08
I miss reading regular updates to The Quinton.
craneplace
7/08
:( and thx, I miss writing them but am on a hiatus as I started a new job (las a logistics strategy analyst which is super exciting), but I hope to be back with semi regularity at some point.